I see the leaves falling and it brings into focus the holidays are soon to follow, along with a host of traditions. I am not a participator in a lot of traditions. Honestly, I don’t care for most of them. My mom, on the other hand, was huge into family traditions. We had family get-togethers for almost every holiday. I thought the entire process was time-consuming, expensive and draining. I realize my anomaly to societies most sacred traditions gives me the exterior of selfishness. I’ll accept it as a badge of honor. I’ve learned the hard way that going against the grain, the traditions, the expectations of others, often gets you slapped with not-so-nice labels.
I’m not criticizing others for having traditions or for enjoying their traditions. I’m just saying I don’t necessarily want to participate in them. It’s not personal (Okay fine! I’ll admit it. Sometimes it is personal, but mostly not). It’s just not my thing. Spending the day with a bunch of loud people all talking at the same time, or with a group of strangers, just doesn’t sound like a good time to me.
I’ve met far too many people over the years who spend the holidays completely stressed out. Some spend ridiculous amounts of money to throw the best holiday party. Some spend ridiculous amounts of time and money to provide the best family meal. Some spend ridiculous amounts of personal anxiety and mental energy faking smiles and small talk for an entire day with people they don’t like, are uncomfortable being around, or who otherwise offend their personal boundaries. Why on earth would you expose yourself to this?
Stop it! This is madness, madness, I say.
I am a BIG fan of low-stress holidays. My need to throw down a big family, home-cooked, get-together happens only about once every five (5) years (If the moon isn’t in perfect alignment with the third star from the fifth planet of the tenth galaxy, it’s probably not the year). If the only time I see you is in exchange for a gift, a material item…. hmmm…. I think that sends the wrong message.
In our humble abode, we celebrate birthdays and Christmas is a BIG deal. All other holidays? Not so much. My lack of participation doesn’t mean I don’t care. If I love you I love you all year regardless of gifts. And, if I don’t love you, why the hell do I want to spend my hard earned money on you? That is just ludicrous.
My favorite Christmas “traditions” is the quiet dinner out right before the madness begins. I enjoy annual drives with the kids to look at Christmas decorations while eating ice cream cones and singing Christmas Carols. I prefer spending the evenings bunked out in front of the fireplace, sipping an adult beverage, while the lights on the Christmas tree flicker in the background (Peace on Earth). I enjoy family show night with hot cocoa, the Grinch and Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Low key, stress free.
If you are tired of the hub-bub, the hustle, the bustle, the debt, the anxiety, the stress, the after holiday let down, feel free to give yourself permission to say; “No, not happening this year.” They’ll get over it, eventually. If, however, you prefer the party, the fast paced life, the loud rooms filled with people, well then… party on, friend.